Long before his tournament jerseys featured a Toyota logo, Gerald Swindle wore green and white as a quick and skinny hoopster, punt returner, and baseball player for the Locust Fork High School Hornets.
So, it should be no surprise when asked to name his best lures of the 2023 Bassmaster Elite Series season, the former three-sport high school athlete, aligned his lure choices to Shaquille O’Neal and Deion Sanders.
Rapala DT 8 = “Prime Time”
“The DT 8 was my Deion Sanders. He was my speedy burner that wasn’t afraid to put in the work. Whether I was grinding him across gravel points in Knoxville at the Classic, cranking grass at Seminole, long shallow points at Murray, or even at Lake Saint Clair for smallmouth, it caught a ton of fish for me this year,” says Swindle.
He typically ties it to 10 or 12-pound Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon line, and cranks with a 7’ 4” moderate action rod. He confidently states if there’s a bass living in less than 10-feet of water, the Rapala DT 8 can catch him.
Zoom Zlinky = “Shaq”
“This is the lure I use to linger around the paint like 300-pound Shaq. I could count on him to hang around the strike zone long enough to pick off a keeper when I was hurtin’ for one,” grins Swindle.
Swindle breaks out the spinning rod when finessing a Zlinky, and rigs it wacky style on a #1 size VMC Redline hook. He caught fish with it around cypress trees at Santee Cooper, off spawning beds at Seminole, and under mega-stingy conditions at the Sabine River.
So even though the 2023 Bassmaster Elite Series season didn’t go nearly as well as Swindle had hoped, all of us can learn from his one-two punch of vastly different lure choices that helped the Blount County Sports Hall of Fame member score a pile of critical keepers amid a wide variety of conditions this past year.